The United States is revolutionizing the business of buildings.  Ideas about construction must become bigger and more innovative to incorporate how the world is impacted by humans.

But, it’s not the only country stepping up their game.

All over the world, people continue to think big and inspire change.

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We’ve gathered a list of 5 countries with buildings that have set the bar high with energy-efficient features that tell the world the sky is the limit!

The Vanke Center, Shenzhen, China

In 2011, the Vanke Center in China was the first (horizontal) skyscraper to reach LEED Platinum status. If you were to stand the building upright it would be as tall as the Empire State Building.

Did you know?

  • The center is a designated stormwater management system for the city of Shenzhen, where the site is located, with a wall built for water retention and acts as a bioswale to decrease stormwater velocity runoffs.
  • The center’s landscape even has it’s own irrigation system for stormwater. It uses semi-permeable materials like gravel, local river stones, grass-crete, open-joint stone and sand pavers.
  • The building incorporates several sustainable features such as 15,000ft2 photovoltaic panels installed over the rooftop
  • A greywater recycling system
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Automatically operable louvers and use of sustainable materials such as bamboo for floors, doors, and furniture.
  • Underneath the building, the sideways turn the site into a public park.

Manitoba Hydro Place, Winnipeg, Canada

Awarded a LEED Platinum Certification in 2012, this building cost $283 million to build. However, the extreme weather conditions in Winnipeg gave the design team a challenge when it came to reducing energy. The one advantage they had was that Winnipeg receives more sunlight than most Canadian cities.

  • The Manitoba Hydro Place has been designed to be so efficient with energy that it uses 70% less than most traditional buildings.
  • It takes advantage of the environment to reduce energy usage with south-facing winter gardens and a solar chimney. But still uses systems like programmable lighting to optimize the natural energy efficiency.

Here are some of its awesome features:

  • Waterless Urinals
  • An exposed ceiling mass helps with heating and cooling for the solar chimney during the summer; as warm air rises to the top of the building through the ceiling, it draws north through natural pressure differences.
  • The raised access floor allows fresh air at all hours of the day.

7 More London Building, London, UK

The 7 More London Building has 6300 staff members that have helped make this building be known as the most eco-friendly in the UK.  The Building uses an IT system to help control lighting and heating for all tenants.

Some features include:

    • A future-proofed structure that will incorporate rainwater harvesting.

25% on-site renewable fuel providing cooling, heating, and power through the use of a tri-generator operating on 100% recycled vegetable oil maintains

  • building temperature using recycling of wasted heat.
  • As well as wellness centers, showers, and the works when it comes to amenities.

The National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon, Korea

As a country, Korea has rapidly advanced up the ladder in terms of international economic growth. When it comes to their GDP, the majority of it is now spent on research and development. That includes the integration of technology and sustainability in buildings. The National Institute of Environmental Research is the first business building to completely emit zero carbon emissions and ONLY uses renewable energy.

Sustainability Features:

  • The NIER uses 66 different technologies to consume the energy it emits.
  • Through super insulation of windows and doors (a form of passive reduction technology), energy emissions are reduced by 40%.
  • The other 60% of energy is reduced by active natural solar energy.
  • An estimated 100 CO2-ton a year will be saved through the process of the  NIER Building, which will cut around 1,020,000 Korean won (916.97 US Dollars).

  The Edge (Deloitte HQ), Amsterdam, Netherlands

According to a 2015 article of Bloomberg, The Edge is considered “the Smartest Building in the World”. This might even just be number one on our list…because the moment your day starts your schedule is connected to  Deloitte’s app (the main tenant). Some may think that’s too much, but the app is meant to optimize your work day and mood, not keep track of whereabouts.

Typically, people waste so much time on their commute and parking, starting out their day on edge and thus hindering their optimal performance. But not The Edge…the app has the intelligence to recognize your car and guide you to an open parking space. It directs you to a workspace according to your schedule based on your lighting preferences. To make a story short…it’s a workplace with an app to make the space work for you.

Here’s a video from Bloomberg giving you glorious visuals of this stunning masterpiece!

Some notable features are:

  • Hot-desking: a concept that encourages efficient use of space, but most importantly, relationships. The app guides you to a workspace based on the task at hand. If you require a desk, it’ll point you to an open desk, if you need to be on a phone call, it will direct you to a private seat (without a desk).
  • The Edge has around 28,000 sensors that are packed in LED panels that help control motion, light, temperature, humidity, and infrared. Almost like a big, man-made brain of the building.
  • The app is used for everything at The Edge. You can use it to find your colleagues, order food, adjust heating…possibilities are endless.
  • Rainwater is collected for irrigation and for the toilet water.
  • The surrounding gardens create even a preferred home for bees and bats to support local pollination.


At Pyramid Window Cleaning, we’re passionate about buildings and the change they make not just for people, but for the world.

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